The addition of our mini greenhouse afforded me the opportunity to grow broccoli this year. I couldn’t be more happy since it’s one of our favorite vegetables. If I could change one thing about the growing process, it would be that I was able to grow it for a longer season.
Since I can’t however, my main goal this year was to grow a lot and preserve what we didn’t eat fresh. So far, that has meant I must freeze broccoli from my greenhouse for later use.
It’s a really easy process, and I’m so excited to start filling my freezer.
To start, make sure you are harvesting strong and healthy stalks and florets from your garden. There is definitely a difference between the taste of frozen broccoli from the store and that which you will freeze fresh from your garden. Broccoli tastes best when harvested while the flowers are still tight and closed.
Bring your broccoli in and clean it right away. I like to soak mine in cold water with a bit of salt in it just to make sure all the bugs I can’t see are good and dead. Shake your broccoli off and give it an additional rinse, and then you’re ready to cut it up.
I cut mine into the size I want it to be when I use it.
After the broccoli is cleaned and cut, it’s time to blanch it. Blanching stops the enzymes present from breaking down the plant after harvested. It also helps to preserve the color of the broccoli.
Bring a pot of water to a good boil, and put your broccoli in for 3 minutes (if your altitude is above 5000 feet like me, you’ll want to add one minute). After 3 minutes, carefully pull your broccoli out and place it in ice cold water for another 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes in the ice-water, pull your broccoli out. Place it in a strainer if possible, or a towel to dry off.
Once your broccoli is dry, place it in a single layer on a flat sheet making sure the pieces don’t touch each other and place in your freezer.
After an hour or so, you should be able to remove the broccoli from the sheet and store one of two ways:
- Freezer bags: Label your freezer bag, and place broccoli inside. If you know the exact amount of broccoli you will use for each recipe, freeze it in smaller bags of this measurement. Since I don’t have all my broccoli meals planned out yet, I store it in gallon sized bags. Since each piece was frozen separately, it will be easy to remove just the amount I need each time. Fill the bag 3/4 full and roll down to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
- Food Saver bags: For longer food storage, fill food saver bags quickly while the broccoli is still frozen. Immediately store in your freezer once sealed. Remember that food saver bags don’t reseal easily once opened when employing this method. Unless you will use a lot of broccoli each time you open a bag, you’ll want to make sure to seal in smaller increments this way.
I find for our home that regular gallon freezer bags work best. If we had grown a lot more than we had or knew we wouldn’t use it as often as we will, perhaps I would use the Food Saver bags.